User:Andrerodriguex/QW2023 internship report

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At the start of my internship, I had a limited understanding of open source, knowing only its main concept of freely available software code. However, I soon came to understand the philosophical, social, and political aspects of developing public and accessible knowledge for everyone, especially in the context of contemporary late capitalism. Working with Wikimedia taught me the importance and impact of open source and was one of the most significant personal gains from the experience.

During my internship, I contributed to several Wikimedia projects, including Meta-Wiki, Wikidata, Commons, and Wikipedia, as well as less established and experimental Wikispore and non-Wikimedia wiki on With each edit, I learned more and was welcomed into a worldwide community that I was not previously aware of.

As an intern for the Wikimedia LGBT+ User Group, I worked on planning and started executing the technical production for the Queering Wikipedia Conference 2023. This included testing technical platforms, as described later in this report, and documenting its minimum-base setups.[1] Additionally, I developed Queering Wikipedia documentation, worked on the conference's pages and provided information on hybrid and FLOSS-based events.

Aside from the main topics listed below, I also engaged in miscellaneous work that helped me to grow various skills, including design work, documenting my journey with blog posts (that covered themes like struggles, taking part in a community and LGBTQ+ representation on Wikimedia, all in English and Portuguese, and occasionally in Spanish), conducting outreach through email, forums, Telegram and social media, and participating in workshops. However, my work primarily revolved around:

1. FLOSS and Open Source[edit]

As an Outreachy intern for Wikimedia, organizations that work with and promote open source initiatives, my main objective during this period was to investigate FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) platforms both for Queering Wikipedia and the community as a whole. I learned about the wide variety of free and open code software, infrastructure and protocols, as well as some of its limitations, relevant for the making of the conference and remote events in general.

I made changes to the WikiProject remote event participation page, making it less COVID-related (considering remote events, especially after the pandemic, are not restricted to this scenario), and made the content more concise. The page had some repeated or non-specific parts that made it harder for the reader to find the more useful and informational pieces.

I started a research project from scratch called Podcasting with FLOSS, which was published on Wikispore, an experimental wiki designed to host new forms and types of content. For that, I reached out to the WIKIMOVE team, responsible for the well-established podcast by Wikimedia Deutschland, analyzed Wiki Update's podcast page, and researched the open-source options for all the steps in podcast making. After running a few tests, I came up with a page compiling the information found. As much as proprietary software is still the most easy-to-use and popular option, I was glad to find that it is possible to record, edit and distribute audio episodes using only FLOSS.

I was also responsible for documenting and updating the Wikimedia LGBT+ open-source usage, which is available on the FLOSS Exchange page. It is useful for consultation, but also to think about new open-source initiatives that could be integrated into the user group activities. QW2023 and WM LGBT+ UG are still to advance work with the use of project management tools.

As a partially remote event, video conferencing is an important topic for Queering Wikipedia, and platforms that are considered to be used should meet a few requirements: 1) stable video and audio streaming for a large number of participants; 2) language and accessibility support; 3) privacy and security for users; 4) host administration controls; and 5) miscellaneous features from all the major video conferencing software, such as video recording, chat, raise hand, screen sharing, live streaming, breakout rooms, live interpretation, and on-screen captioning.

For that, I investigated some FLOSS options. The main ones are Jitsi and BigBlueButton. First of all, I documented end-user minimum tech requirements, a significant aspect for an international event, as not everyone has good hardware and/or stable internet connection. I also updated their Wikidata items.[2][3][4] Accessibility issues (having a user interface that visually impaired users can navigate, for example) were also examined but should be explored further in the future.[5][6][7] Jitsi Meet has an easy interface and a relatively stable audio and video connection, but it is more useful for small groups, as it could start to break at 35 participants (but there is great progress being made in that matter). It also does not include subtitle/on-screen captioning option, something important for the event. At the conference, it could be used for shorter simultaneous meetings in more spontaneous unconference format, as one can create many rooms easily.

BigBlueButton is a more e-learning-focused software, offering whiteboard, polling, shared notes and other tools that could be useful for content interaction, conference workshops and presentations. Unlike Jitsi, you might have to sign up and get specific roles. It also has a live closed captioning function that requires manual input. Other software video chat options like MiroTalk,, and Nextcloud Talk were tested, but they did not meet some of the requirements to be potentially used in a conference for various reasons, but should be tracked for future usage.[8]

2. LGBTQ+ Communities in Wikimedia[edit]

Wikimedia LGBT+ is the user group in Wikimedia dedicated to LGBTQ+ Wikimedians. It provides an online platform and organizational structure for users to come together, share experiences, and work on projects related to the community and the Wikimedia, as well as maintain relations to Wikimedia Foundation. Although we have members from around the world, the majority of users are concentrated in the United States and Western Europe. Unfortunately, many of the Wikipedia LGBT portals and WikiProjects LGBT are inactive or under maintained.

Another well-represented group is the Latin American community, especially the Spanish-speaking portion, which has developed an active community focused on issues and content creation in Spanish and Latin American regions. The French-speaking group works as part of Les sans pagEs User Group. As a Portuguese-speaking Brazilian, this example made me reflect on the lack of an active lusophone LGBTQ+ group in Wikimedia. Like other Wikipedias, the Portuguese LGBT portal is also inactive at the time. Therefore, I have started searching for Portuguese-speaking LGBTQ+ users and allies to form a local support group for LGBTQ+ Wikimedians. While the project is still being developed, I hope it will inspire others to also create similar support groups.

At the conference, language equity and participant privacy were given high priority. Although English remains the main form of communication, live interpretation service (primarily for Spanish) and content translation will be provided to welcome participants from other language backgrounds and levels of fluency.

3. Hybrid event production[edit]

Organizing a hybrid event is a challenging task. It involves not only taking care of technical aspects for in-person attendees, but also ensuring that remote participants have a good experience. To begin with, I researched ways to integrate in-person and virtual participants, and came up with some activities and icebreakers that could be used during the conference. These can also be utilized by local QW2023 Nodes for their meet-ups. I also contributed to planning and executing the QW Office Hours sessions, especially during March where I organized the session and handled the reports

From a technical perspective, I investigated hybrid events and plans such as Wikimania 2023 and FOSDEM conferences. For Wikimania, I analyzed content that the tech subcommittee kindly shared with me, and watched FOSDEM 2023 presentation. As my previous research indicated, Jitsi and BigBlueButton were used for these events, respectively. Both events agreed that it is necessary to teach participants how to use the software, as they may not be familiar with the protocol we would follow for QW2023. Additionally, special attention should be given to video and audio settings for in-person participants to prevent integration issues, like remote participants not being able to see or hear the on-local speaker or vice versa. Mobile usability is also important, as many attendees may use their smartphones to watch, listen and interact at the event.

In addition to video conferencing, most events today are also live streamed. While YouTube Livestream may be the most obvious choice, I researched other open source options and discovered Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio). OBS Studio is a powerful tool used by streamers that is highly customizable and can stream to various platforms. One of these platforms is Telegram, which is also open source and is already used as a communication channel for Wikimedia LGBT+. I ran some tests on its streaming option and listed a few pros (stable streaming, live chat interaction) and cons (no voice option for participants in the call, some delay, and the possibility of getting kicked out if you try to unmute). I also analyzed some paid options, such as Micepad, Pheedloop, and Hopin, but due to limited testing time, price, and learning curve, they were left out for this time.

In conclusion, considering the needs of a large event, multilingual support and accessibility issues, we will primarily use Zoom for the start of the conference. However, we plan to use Jitsi and/or BigBlueButton for shorter sessions on at least one day, where the conference will not be negatively impacted by offering fewer features and if something goes wrong.

While it is a hard reality that the conference will not be entirely FLOSS-based, this does not mean that an open source event is not possible.

For those who want to create a full FLOSS event, I recommend using Pretix for registration, Pretalx for program and scheduling, self-hosted Jitsi/BigBlueButton for video conferencing, OBS Studio for streaming (matched with Telegram), Telegram for participants' interaction, Etherpad for notes, and PeerTube to share recorded video content. It is important to run numerous tests before to ensure everything goes smoothly, but it is not impossible, and all of these software options are powerful.

4. Thanks[edit]

Finally, I am glad to say that I have learned a lot during these three months. Initially, I was not sure if I would be able to meet the expectations of those who gave me this opportunity, as well as my own expectations. However, I am now happy to be able to share the knowledge I have acquired with others, and I hope it can be useful for those who might need it.

I would like to thank my mentors for giving me resources to learn, reviewing my work, keeping up with my progress, and encouraging me to improve, the Wikimedia LGBT+ community for welcoming me and showing interest in assisting me, and everyone who kindly helped me during this process in general.

Lastly, I would like to thank Outreachy for giving me this opportunity. As a young student from Brazil, a non-English speaking country with high social inequality, I really doubted that I would get this chance, and after I received it, I was insecure that I could achieve what was proposed with all my limitations, but with the support I was given, I was able to accomplish it. The amount of personal, educational, and professional growth I experienced during the last few months was crucial for my journey up until now and will surely be useful for my future.